Transcription (writing)

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Under transcription (from Latin trans , over 'and scribere , write') is understood in the narrow sense a transcription (the transfer of linguistic expressions from one writing system to another), which on the pronunciation is based, using a phonetically defined phonetics or other basic alphabets as a phonetic replacement. This should enable the non-native speaker to pronounce the word halfway correctly. In a broader sense is transcription a synonym for, circumscription '.

The transcription of spoken language is used, for example, in dialectology , where it is necessary to record acoustic evidence in writing as close as possible to the loudspeaker.

A distinction must be made between transcription in the narrower sense and transliteration as a script-based, letter-true, if necessary reversible conversion of a word from one script to another. Diacritical marks are often used for this. The person skilled in the art should be able to see the exact spelling of the word in the other script, if this cannot be shown in the original version (for example because no corresponding types or character sets are available).



Comparison of different transcriptions for Cyrillic
  example 1 Example 2
Russian original Александр Солженицын Михаил Зощенко
German transcription Alexander Solzhenitsyn (Solzhenitsyn *) Mikhail Soschtschenko (Sostschenko *)
English transcription Aleksandr (Alexander) Solzhenitsyn Mikhail Zoshchenko
Slovenian transcription Aleksander Solženicin Mihail Zoščenko
Czech transcription Alexandr Solženicyn Mikhail Zoščenko
french transcription Alexandre Soljénitsyne Mikhail Zochtchenko
Polish transcription Aleksander Sołżenicyn Michaił Zoszczenko
Dutch transcription Aleksandr Solzjenitsyn Mikhail Zosjtsenko
Greek transcription Aλεξάντερ Σολζενίτσιν Μιχαήλ Ζόστσενκο
Serbian transcription Александар Солженицин
Aleksandar Solženicin
Михаил Зошченко
Mihail Zoščenko
Hungarian transcription Alekszandr Szolzsenyicin Mihail Zoscsenko
Chinese transcription
and pronunciation
亚历山大 • 索尔仁尼琴
[ jâlîʂántâ swǒɐ̀ɻɻə̌nnǐtɕʰín ]
米哈伊尔 • 淑 雪 兼 珂
[ mìxáíèɻ ʂúɕɥɛ̀tɕjɛ́nkʰɤ́ ]
scientific transliteration Aleksandr Solženicyn Mikhail Zoščenko
ISO transliteration Aleksandr Solženicyn Mihail Zoŝenko
phonetic transcription in the IPA [ ɐlʲɪkˈsaˑndr sɐɫʒɨˈnʲiˑtsɨn ] [ mʲɪχaˈiˑɫ ˈzɔˑɕːɪnkɐ ]
* Transcription customary in the GDR

Tables of transcription and transliteration systems: Bulgarian , Macedonian , Russian , Serbian , Ukrainian , Belarusian


In Japanese, the transcription of Japanese into the Latin script is called Rōmaji (Rome symbol). There are different systems of transcription. Two well-known and recognized are the Hebon-shiki ( German  Hepburn system ) and the Kunrei-shiki (German Kunrei system ). The former was spread by the American missionary James Curtis Hepburn and is more based on actual pronunciation; The latter was conceived by the Japanese government at the time and follows the system of the Kana table.

Examples: Japan's holy mountain, the 富士山 , (is often incorrectly rendered in German as " Fudschijama "), is written:

according to the Hepburn system: Fujisan
according to the Kunrei system: Huzisan

Hepburn: ta chi tsu te to
Kunrei: ta ti do te to
Hepburn: Ha Hi fu hey ho
Kunrei: Ha Hi hu hey ho
Kana: し ゃ し ゅ し ょ
Hepburn: sha shu sho
Kunrei: sya syu syo


The pronunciation of Hebrew, which is reproduced in Latin transcription, is generally based today on the Israeli standard pronunciation. Regional forms of pronunciation, such as Yemeni or Ashkenazi-Eastern European, as well as historical forms of pronunciation (e.g. Biblical Hebrew) are hardly taken into account in the transcription.

Which orthographic system is used to represent the sounds depends on the writer and his / her cultural environment. The word “shalom”, for example, can also be written shalom, chalom, sjalom, szalom , etc., ie German, English, French, Dutch, Polish, etc. - there is no generally recognized, binding standard. In scientific contexts, and in some cases also in the media, a spelling based on English habits dominates today, at least in the area of ​​consonants: sh for sh ; z for voiced s; ts for z; h, also kh for ch etc. In vowelism, the influence of German predominates, since here each letter has only one pronunciation: a, e, i, o, u . Occasionally French ou is also found for u (often in the spelling of the names of oriental Jews in whose countries French predominated); Lately, English-style spellings like oo (for u ) and ee (for i ) have become more common. None of these systems are consistently applied, and none are able to represent all sounds correctly. Think of the lack of distinction between voiced and unvoiced s in German or between ch and h in English; Hebrew itself has a separate letter for each of these sounds. Neither for the transcription of place names and personal names in Israeli passports nor for those on Israeli street signs do uniform rules apply. The non-Hebrew origin of numerous family names also complicates this; sometimes they are written as in the country of origin, sometimes in “simplified”, i.e. H. often anglicized form today. In the case of a name like "Weizman (n)", this means that the transcription Vaitsman also occurs. When examining the names of Israeli authors whose works have been translated into European languages, it can be seen that many, but by no means all, authors adapt the spelling of their names in Latin letters to the reading habits of the respective country; see. A. B. Yehoshua and A. B. Yehoshua, but Amos Oz throughout .

Using the example of Hebrew, the difference between a purely phonological and a morpho-phonological transcription can also be shown:

Kibuts vs. Qibbuṣ: The first transcription reproduces the Israeli pronunciation. The second is also based on the Hebrew alphabet: q stands for the letter ק (Kof), whereas according to this system k is reserved for כּ (Kaf). Kof and Kaf were two different sounds in Classical Hebrew; today they are pronounced the same, the distinction has only been preserved in the spelling. The doubling of the b also reflects a sound level that is no longer common today and for which the classic spelling provides for a point in the letter Bet. indicates the relationship with the historically related sound ṣ of the other Semitic languages; and S thus reflects an earlier debate that has been lost in modern Hebrew and the sound z (t) has been replaced. In the case of , it is a character that occurs in scientific transcription systems, while everyday transcription models are usually based solely on the Latin alphabet, without adding diacritical points to the specification. A common scientific form of representation is also or for ch, for example in tapuaḥ or tapuaḫ (apple). The use of the hyphen, which is often used to separate written Hebrew words into their component parts, is striking. For example, jad bajad (hand in hand) can also be written jad ba-jad .

Example of transcription and transliteration from a consonant script (Arabic) into Latin script

This example of a Persian two-line line illustrates the distinction between transliteration and transcription according to the Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft (DMG) from an Arabic language into a Latin language:

Description : First line from the Mas̱nawī-ye ma'nawī ("Spiritual two-line lines") of Rumi : "Hear the flute what it says / how it complains of being separated"
Source text : بشنو از نى چون حكايت ميكند / از جدائى ها شكايت ميكند
Transliteration : BŠNW 'Z NY ČWN ḤK'YT MYKND /' Z ǦD''Y H 'ŠK'YT MYKND
Transcription : bešnau az ney čūn ḥekāyat mīkonad / az ǧodā'ī-hā šekāyat mīkonad

Norms and common transcription systems

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: transcription  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

References and comments

  1. Duden newsletter (September 3rd, 2010). In: Retrieved May 6, 2018 .
  2. In Oriental Studies, the transliteration is done using capital letters to clearly distinguish it from the transcription.
  3. Vocalization according to the pronunciation common in Iran today, which differs from "East Persian" in Afghanistan, Tajikistan and the Indian subcontinent.